Finally, some good news to come out of 2020.

Bruce Springsteen will release his 20th studio album, Letter to You, on October 23. It’s a 12 song set recorded with the E Street Band at Springsteen’s home studio in Colts Neck, N.J.

Produced by Springsteen and Ron Aniello, the album was recorded “live in the studio, in a way we’ve never done before, and with no overdubs," Springsteen said in a statement. "We made the album in only five days, and it turned out to be one of the greatest recording experiences I’ve ever had.” He added: “I love the emotional nature of Letter to You.”

The album contains nine newly written songs, including the title track that was released Thursday morning, plus new recordings of three that date back to the 1970s.

“Letter to You,” the song, is a solidly reassuring Springsteen on E Street track. Guitars ring and drums pound as the Boss makes a forthright promise to keep the faith with himself and his audience: “Dug deep in my soul and signed my name true,” he sings. “And sent it in a letter to you”

Two of the older songs, “If I was the Priest” and “Song for Orphans” go all the way back to 1972, and were originally recorded as demos that preceded Springsteen’s debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. in Springsteen’s “New Dylan” phase.

The other old song, “Janey Needs a Shooter” was a sturdy rocker when it was recorded in sessions for 1978′s Darkness on the Edge of Town. It’s been widely bootlegged but never released. Springsteen’s friend Warren Zevon was taken with the tune and adapted it as “Jeanie Needs a Shooter” on the 1980 album Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School.

The album’s cover features a close up of Springsteen standing in a snowstorm in New York in 2018 in a photo taken by Danny Clinch. Fans who saw the image when it circulated on social media on Wednesday might have wondered whether Letter to You was a Christmas album. Thankfully, it’s not.

Springsteen last performed with the E Street Band on a tour that included shows of record breaking 4 hour plus length in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park in September 2016 before concluding in New Zealand in February 2017.

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After the sold out run of Springsteen on Broadway and release of last year’s non-E Street album Western Stars, it was widely anticipated that the Jersey rocker would return this year with an album and tour with the E Street Band.

Rumor had it that an album with the band had been recorded as early as last December, and Letter to You presumably is that pre-pandemic recording. The band members are not social distanced in the black-and-white lyric video drawn from the recording sessions that accompanies the release of the song “Letter to You.”

With the concert industry still at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, no E Street tour is yet in the works, but Letter to You’s October release will put Springsteen back in the media spotlight in advance of the Presidential election in November.

Track listing

  1. “One Minute You’re Here”

  2. “Letter To You”

  3. “Burnin' Train”

  4. “Janey Needs A Shooter”

  5. “Last Man Standing”

  6. “The Power Of Prayer”

  7. “House Of A Thousand Guitars”

  8. “Rainmaker”

  9. “If I Was The Priest”

  10. “Ghosts”

  11. “Song For Orphans”

  12. “I’ll See You In My Dreams”